ceramic/kamado cookers - different makes pros/cons
I know there have been several discussions on the BGE, kamado and other ceramic cookers before, but i'm wondering if anyone has a strong opinion on one brand over another and why.
i know of primo, kamado, big green egg, and big dome (is that the right name?). I know BGE is the best seller, but that doesn't make it the best unit. Are these the best? Am i missing any options?
What brands do you or, more importantly, don't you recommend , and why?
I live in an apartment in NYC - a five story walkup apartment with a 13' x 9' balcony space.. so if that influences your opinion let me know.
I may have been a little high on my original weight statement.When trying to move or lift one, it feels like 700 lbs. All those cookers are based on the Japanese kamado is a correct statement, but you're off base when it comes to the weight of the Kamado's.
Komodo Kamado's made in Indonesia and sold here by Dennis Linkletter,
and the so called Mexican Kamado, now made back in Indonesia again, both weigh upwards of 350 lbs for the large units. They are tiled and this adds to the weight.
The XL Big Green Egg weighs a little over 200 lbs.
Imho, the Komodo Kamado is the best of the bunch, but a top of the line model costs $3000!
I'm in the same boat as you as far as apartment living in Boston, but I'm lucky enough to have a very small backyard patio. I'm lucky enough to own a 3 family building. The kids bought me a Komodo Kamado about 3 years ago and I love it.
But.... recently I bought an electric 40" Masterbuilt smoker for the rear deck, primarily to hang and smoke sausages. I really enjoy using it, just set the temp, put whatever into it, and forget it until it's cooked. You add some wood chips and that makes the smoke.
Look into one of those types.
All of them will produce food equally well. You're choosing among features, capacity, and aesthetics. How much food are you going to cook at one time?
Big Green Egg is the most readily found. That's not a bad thing. Parts replacement is a consideration for many cookers, because you will need replacement grills when they rust, replacement steel hinge mounting bands when they rust, replacement springs when they rust, etc. I've used a BGE and I like it well enough, although I missed the high end niceties of my Komodo when I used it.
For anyone that needs to move the cooker regularly (like the guys I know who compete with them), the relatively lighter weight of the BGE, Primo and Grilldome is a major plus. My Komodo is 476 pounds, and stays at home when I cook at BBQ contests.
The guy who owns Kamado.com is widely regarded on the internet as a sleazy operator who produces subpar quality and screws over his customers. Google kamado richard johnson and you'll see plenty of feedback on his company.
Komodo Kamado is what I have. Totally different company despite the similar name. They make the mother of all ceramic cookers. All high end stainless hardware, superb build quality, and comes with all of the extra features and parts that Big Green Eggs charges you for.
Some bullet points on the Komodo:
Recent production models come standard with three tiers of heavy duty stainless grates. Other ceramics only have room for one grate, and you may or may not be able to jury rig a second. Komodo gives you the most capacity of the ceramics. You might think you won't ever need that much room, but you will, believe me.
All stainless hardware won't rust.
Hinges are cast into the ceramic (unlike on the BGE), so they never come loose.
Ceramic firebox is a two piece design that doesn't crack from thermal expansion.
The dome of the Komodo Kamado is shaped so that it reflects heats more even than a round dome. Very important for when I bake pizzas at 600F near the top of the cooker.
Basically, Komodo fixed all of the flaws found on other ceramic cookers and refined them beyond anything else out there. It is gorgeous, but pricy.
They have a mammoth 22.5" cooker as well as a new 19.5" size that's in development. That smaller one might be a better size for a balcony situation, but it's still 368 pounds
Here's the specs for the new 19.5" Komodo Kamado:
If you're willing to shell out for the very best:
Writeup of my cooker:
Just to reiterate and clear up any confusion about spelling and visual similarities:
Komodo Kamado: superb quality, incredible customer service
Kamado.com: sketchy quality, shady owner. Avoid at all cost.
Also, there have been cheap BGE knockoffs showing up. They look like exact clones, but the build quality is visibly shoddier. The lower vent on the one I saw at BBQ Galore (called a Comet Kamado) was so crappy that they used silicone sealant to stuff the gaps. It looked like they hired a retarded monkey to do the sealing job. If you're lured by a cheap BGE clone that isn't green, but black or navy blue or some other color, stay far far away.